In 2011 the St. Louis Regional Health Commission (RHC) and the Episcopal-Presbyterian Health Trust (EPHT) embarked on a partnership to support the integration of physical and behavioral health care in St. Louis City and County. The $2.2 million three-year initiative is focused on funding models that integrate behavioral health and primary care services through practices that are focused on patient accessibility and strong clinical outcomes.
The goals of the program are:
- To increase access to quality behavioral health services for uninsured and underinsured individuals in St. Louis City and County through the integration of these services at community health centers
- To invest in systemic and sustainable changes at community health centers that support and initiate the long-term integration of behavioral health services into daily operations
- To support investment opportunities that facilitate the creation of diverse access points that integrate behavioral health with primary health care
Five grant applications were received in September 2011. After a rigorous review process, led by an Advisory Panel of national, state and local experts, two community health centers were approved to receive grant funds beginning January 2012:
- Betty Jean Kerr People’s Health Centers (BJK People’s)
- St. Louis County Department of Health (STL County)
History of the Funding Partnership
RHC and EPHT have a longstanding partnership to improve health care in the St. Louis region. In 2003, EPHT invested considerable resources to support the RHC’s 2003 regional strategic plan to restructure primary and specialty care services in the St. Louis region. This investment led to several noteworthy successes, including critical early support for the development of the St. Louis Integrated Health Network (IHN).
In 2006, after dramatic success in improving access to ambulatory health care services for the uninsured, the St. Louis region embarked on the “Eastern Region Behavioral Health Initiative,” a comprehensive effort facilitated by the RHC to transform behavioral health services in the St. Louis region. As part of these efforts, the region agreed upon a detailed blueprint to improve access to mental health and substance abuse services, especially for low-income residents in the community. See Pathways to Progress Report – 2010 and RHC Behavioral Health Report – 2006 to learn more.